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Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Trump spoke with North Carolina leaders before Florence impact

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Trump spoke with North Carolina leaders before Florence impact”

Florence is now about 110 east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

The monster storm - which briefly flirted with category five status on its march across the Atlantic - was located roughly 170 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina as of 8:00 a.m. EDT Thursday.

The forecast suggests as much as 40in of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains. The National Weather Service said about 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2. The NHS warned of "catastrophic" flash flooding from rainfall totals as high as 40 inches. Don't play games with it. "It's a big one", he said in an address on Twitter. St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma past year.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have minded staying here".

The city of Jacksonville's statement says people have been moved to the city's public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.

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"What we always try to do is make sure that everybody is informed, aware of everything that's going on, so they can make the right decisions", Kaplan said.

The Carolinas will likely bear the brunt of Florence's wrath.

In Shallotte, N.C., a coastal town near the border with SC, emergency orders forced a Waffle House to shut down - an act that was widely seen as a sign of respect for Florence's imposing size and strength. "Additionally, Florence's projected toll is less than Hurricane Sandy's toll of $69 billion and Katrina's cost of $161 billion", Myers said.

Despite pleas from state and local officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate.

This morning, the radar loop out of Morehead North Carolina is beginning to show those fans of heavy rain closing in on the coast. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle. But James said she and her family are prepared and stocked up on several items. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees.

Storm surge is basically a wall of seawater that could fall on and swallow parts of the coast. He said, "Sand dunes gone storm surge 4' into house knocking down walls first floor".



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